Dialling In, April 20, 2012

19 Apr 2012 0 Share

An synoptic chart showing the trough extending down the East Coast. Source: BOM

An synoptic chart showing the trough extending down the East Coast. Source: BOM

Forecast by Ben Macartney

The East Coast is the place over the coming days. Whether it’s southern NSW or south-eastern Queensland or anywhere in between, you’ve got a good chance of scoring at least good, if not epic, easterly swell with light winds. Surf should range from three to six feet depending on your timing and location. The unique synoptic pattern responsible for this episode is worthy of note - a broad ridge supported by a strong Tasman high, feeding a strong to gale force easterly fetch into a near stationary low pressure trough lying 50 odd nautical miles offshore and extending north to south, parallel to the NSW coast.

The Wave Tracker swell model, showing a band of swell filling in along the East Coast on Friday.

The Wave Tracker swell model, showing a band of swell filling in along the East Coast on Friday.


The trough acts as the catalyst for the swell-producing winds, as well an ideally placed barrier shielding us from the brunt of the howling onshore flow to its east. Although the trough and ridge are set to gradually weaken from this point onwards, the broader easterly fetch spanning the central and eastern Tasman Sea will continue to supply the region with mid range ENE swell for days to come.

The Wave Tracker swell model, showing mid-range SW swell on the exposed coasts.

The Wave Tracker swell model, showing mid-range SW swell on the exposed coasts.


It still looks like the trough will briefly deepen over the north-eastern Tasman Sea over the weekend, aiming a strong NE burst our way and setting up another substantial pulse of ENE swell on Sunday and Monday.


Victoria

The Wave Tracker swell period model, showing the leading band of long-period swell pushing into the coast late Thursday.

The Wave Tracker swell period model, showing the leading band of long-period swell pushing into the coast late Thursday.


For Victorians it’s all about the exposed coasts over the coming days. An upper level low moving across the state on Friday leaves a light pressure gradient in its wake, ensuring light north to north-easterly winds persist throughout Saturday, tending NNW early Sunday ahead of a WNW change later in the day. This wind regime coincides with mid range SW swell that will be holding most size on Saturday before easing back to lower levels by Sunday.


South Australia

A long-period SW swell lights up the South Australian coasts over the coming days, exhibiting largest heights of three to four foot mark across the South Coast on Friday

The Wave Tracker swell model showing swell pushing into the South West on Saturday morning, before dropping though the day.

The Wave Tracker swell model showing swell pushing into the South West on Saturday morning, before dropping though the day.


This should make for an excellent day for surfing as a trough drifting across the region should maintain light ESE to ENE winds for most of the day. A further drop in SW swell follows this weekend, slipping back into the two to three foot range by Saturday morning. The last of this episode is likely to coincide with a freshening westerly flow extending across the state as a stronger cold front moves through.  A second front approaching across the eastern Bight on Sunday should see moderate WNW winds early on Sunday, greeting leftover SW swell still up to two to occasionally three feet across the South Coast.


Western Australia


Over in Western Australia, the South West Coast has no shortage of SW swell on tap. It’ll be largest on Friday at six to eight feet and grading smaller from there into the weekend - four to six feet on Saturday, and smaller again by Sunday. Winds are not ideal on Saturday, but tolerable inside the bays, blowing SSW at 10 to 15 knots before shifting lighter SE by Sunday.

Tags: Australia , NSW , QLD , VIC , SA , WA (create Alert from these tags)

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